Hong Kong university removes Tiananmen statue

A famous statue commemorating the lives lost during China's Tiananmen Square crackdown has been removed from Hong Kong University.

Late on Wednesday night, security guards placed yellow barricades around the 26-foot high, copper sculpture called the "Pillar of Shame".

The artwork is one of the few remaining public memorials in the former British colony to remember the bloody crackdown in 1989.

It features anguished human torsoes to represent the pro-democracy protesters killed by the Chinese authorities.

The incident remains a taboo subject in mainland China, where it cannot be publicly commemorated.

Several months ago, the university sent a legal letter to the custodians of the statue asking for its removal.

In a statement, HKU said that no party had ever obtained approval to display the statue on its campus.

It also called the statue "fragile" and said it posed "potential safety issues."

But the Danish sculptor behind the piece has hit out at the institution.

Jens Galschiot said in a statement he was "totally shocked" at the move against his private property and that he would "claim compensation for any damage to the sculpture."

The removal of the statue is the latest step targeting people or organizations affiliated with the sensitive June 4, 1989, date and events to mark it.

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